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PREFACE This is a work of co-creation. Not only does it explore David Bowie’s enduring legacy across music, fashion, and culture, but it takes us on a speculative journey into the unknown future. Throughout his career, Bowie had seen and experienced such an abundance of change in our society that in each era, his incredibly unconventional mind would take him to adapt a diverse range of approaches to comprehend the world.

From this, Bowie gave us different pieces of his mind and emerged as a unique brand with an iconic attitude. Here we imagine a Bowie who transcends death, an artist who continues to collaborate and pioneer new directions in popular culture.

Bowie’s ever-changing persona and his ability to invent new alter egos, produce new sounds, and control the direction of his artistic journey feels strangely prescient with Instagram and the role of key music influencers in today’s cultural scene. How would Instagram reflect Bowie’s self-curated interests through a visual narrative? At the beginning of conducting this project, David Bowie had just passed away for two years, in which a lot of major upheavals took place in Great Britain as well as internationally. In this time of unrest and frustration, we can’t help but wonder: What would Bowie do? The one-and-only ‘Starman’ with such a genius mind, how would he act and react in a strange world like this? Then comes the idea of imagining a future with Bowie still among us. Inspiration was taken from Brian Eno’s ‘Oblique Strategies,’ a set of cards designed to combat creative block. Bowie’s set of the cards are well-worn and taped together, which suggests he went back to them time and time again.

The cards consist of provocations and aphorisms that can be picked out, mixed and matched randomly and used to expressively solve problems. The trigger words would lead users to view things from a fresh perspective, which enhances creativity, and to think outside of the box, expanding their socially-constructed/ restricted mindset. It was an immersive process for the team as well where we took a deep dive in understanding his legacy and what he stood for. It was interesting for us to put our theoretical teachings in practice in regards to the back-casting exercise. It was refreshing to work on a project that was open ended and enabled the team to explore their creativity using different approaches. Both the MA Publishing and MA Design Management students’ competencies complimented each other in creating an outcome that highlighted the strengths of the individual members of the team. What follows is a co-created representation of the above — an experimental attempt to find the David Bowie in Us...




Co-creation Workshop

Is it Finished?

Oblique Strategies Back-casting



Speculative Narratives


Sound and Vision

All the Young Dudes

Space Oddity

Modern Love

Life on Mars?

Under Pressure


Golden Years

The Man Who Sold

Let’s Dance

the World


Suffragette City





CO-CREATION WORKSHOP ‘At dusk of 15th February 2018, the team held a co-creational workshop in a seminar room at Sackler Centre of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Before hosting the event, several visits to the center were made: first to brainstorm an applicable outline for the workshop while trying to pinpoint and make clear of a general direction that the project was going; secondly to look for materials and resources; and finally to prepare for the event. Thanks to our project manager Leanne’s connection to the V&A, the team was able to book a space with spacious working tables and a large TV for putting on some of David Bowie’s documentaries, interviews, or videos that could trigger the stream of imagination. Old magazines, paper, and a range of stationeries were also obtained from the museum for workshop participants to make collages. The workshop scale was small yet intimate, where people felt comfortable about asking questions and communicating their thoughts. Invitations were sent out to mainly art students or young creatives to ensure that contributions were productive and beneficial to the final outcome of the publication.


OBLIQUE STRATEGIES What do you do when you’re stuck for creative inspiration? Turn to a pack of ‘Oblique Strategies,’ the inventive deck of cards designed by Brian Eno and Peter Schimdt published as a limited edition in 1975. On each card is printed an instruction or a provocation, such as ‘humanize something free of error’ or ‘use filters.’ Ever since Schimdt’s death in 1980, Brian Eno has continued to release new editions. On the application store the cards have become ubiquitous with many different versions to choose from pointing towards their popularity. According to the 2001 edition, ‘these cards evolved from

separate observations of the principles underlying what we were doing. Sometimes they were recognized in retrospect (intellect catching up with intuition), sometimes they were identified as they were happening, and sometimes they were formulated.’ In the construction of the time-line that accompanies this publication, ‘Oblique Strategies’ was an exercise given to participants at the ‘Bowie in Us’ workshop to assist them in linking abstract concepts with images and informing content for our Bowie’s speculative journey.

#DAVIDGRAM @davidbowie

Creative resurgence #obliquestrategy #newdimension #whatawaitsus


BACK-CASTING In order to generate ideas, a time-line was constructed at the workshop. This time-line begins after David Bowie’s death in 2016, urging participants to expand their imagination, picturing Bowie’s resurrection and the role he would play in the future society. In the process of putting in content, participants (along with ourselves) were encouraged to discuss and get inspiration from other people’s interpretations. Interestingly, this is what Bowie used to do with his work. He valued collaboration as something that turns initial ideas into more multidimensional thoughts. To honor him, a lot of fun was had at the workshop as people put their heads together and found originality beyond their subconscious. This collaborative attempt brought to us the structure of contents we were looking for. The themes for our speculative narratives you may see in text and collage throughout this publication were considerably informed by the finished time-line.



SPECULATIVE NARRATIVES In this section, a future with David Bowie’s gracing presence is imagined and then elaborated. For each song title that was found to be relative to our foremost theme of cultural legacy, a speculative narrative is written to tell a new version of a story already told by Bowie years ago. Leading primarily with music, the narratives probe and delve into a variety of cultural and societal aspects in the contemporary world. Technology is one of the underlying theme throughout, as the new developments in technology are constantly changing the way people live, to an immense extent.


SOUND & VISION Bowie was a music pioneer collaborating with Brian Eno and Tony Visconti on a raft of albums often pushing the boundaries of technology creating multi-layered tracks and experimental sounds. Continuing to pioneer new musical directions, the future sees Bowie combining innovation with sustainability

in sound. A key influencer across the arts and sciences collaborating with multi-service international companies such as ARUP who specialise in all aspects of the built environment providing design, engineering, planning and project management-Bowie champions the use of sound environments.

Working alongside ARUP’s acoustic team, Bowie trials different soundscapes and the built environment informs his creative output providing new directions in music. As a co-creative force he invites participants to evaluate his output by providing augmented versions of future cityscapes that enables them to listen through headphones and compose their own soundscapes. These soundscapes are then incorporated into Bowie’s tracks, they are multi-layered and sometimes they seem familiar, a nod back to the EMS synth used in the 70’s by Brian Eno in the Berlin trilogy.

#DAVIDGRAM @davidbowie

Transforming sound and vision #soundscape #immersivesound #soundenvironment



SPACE ODDITY Bowie had a fear of flying or aviophobia its correct term and was known to travel by boat or train whilst on tour, this fear set in after a particularly ropey flight in the early 1970s. Bowie predicted with the disruption to the music industry caused by streaming services such as Spotify that performers would have to rely on touring to sustain their fan base or risk becoming obsolete. Moving forward new directions in teleportation and specifically telepresence would enable Bowie to have the kind of face to face collaboration and engagement with audiences a performer could only dream of. Telecommuting or virtual immigration will change global economics with individuals being able to deploy their skills remotely. Audiences have been wowed recently by the use of holograms to recreate such stars as Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur and Elvis. Though some people can find this quite unsettling the future of telepresence means a globally expanded network and a multitude of collaborative possibilities.


LIFE ON MARS Bowie had always been fascinated by the idea of space, putting it in his stage names, songs, and imageries. He was attracted to things that are alien, perhaps because he was an ‘alien’ himself. As technology advances, human race’s desire to conquer the mysterious universe grows stronger. In today’s world, space travel is

a hot topic that is no longer so impossible as before. However, if we look closer into Bowie’s lyrics, it is not space travel nor outer space creatures that he sang about.

Humans are the ‘cavemen,’ corrupting our own systems and societies, just to have a short moment of temporary fulfillment. He asked the question ‘is there life on Mars?’ Only to convey the irony that humans are the ‘freakiest show’ of all. As an idealist, Bowie did not feel at home in a world that was ugly and sinful. Perhaps what he yearned for was not moving to Mars but to simply get away from humanity and the civilization that disappointed and alienated him.

#DAVIDGRAM @davidbowie

Moon living for all #humaninvasion #disruptivetechnologies #dystopia



HEROES ‘Heroes’ helped bring down the Berlin Wall by promoting love and courage for people to fight an unjust world. In times of political turmoil, which is what we have been experiencing since 2016, the song’s theme of different people coming together for peace makes ‘Heroes’ an old song in good season. Another great divide in the first world today is how millennials are portrayed by the media as a most self-involved generation, selfish as well as entitled. Instead of bashing millennials, Bowie as a true artist would support all forms of self expression and empowerment. Quite the odd duck himself, his fierce and unapologetic individuality would encourage young adults of today to embrace their identities in a world of hypocritical chaos. As well as this, Bowie’s sensitive nature suggests he would understand the importance of mental wellbeing and ‘putting yourself first,’ an understated notion that has been brought to light only in the recent years.


THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD The title track from his third album released in 1971 infers an encounter with a doppleganger, one of a number of outcasts who populated the album. Whilst some critics have lauded the notion that we could recreate our favorite artists, Professor Robert Winston has categorically said this isn’t possible and we wouldn’t

want to anyway. Speaking in NME in response to a lock of hair belonging to Bowie being sold at auction in 2016, Winston stated that given the problems with genetic cloning and the example of Dolly the sheep cloned in 1996, who aged rapidly, we could end up with an inadequate musician.

What’s more, the professor went onto say that creative people like Bowie are a product not only of the DNA, but of their environment. If Bowie was brought up in a different social environment, he might never have become a musician. There are artists who continue to be compared to Bowie, none more so than the actor Tilda Swinton who appeared with Bowie in his penultimate album ‘The Next Day’ in a short film for his single ‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’ as a middleaged couple to be visited of ghosts of Bowie past. Both social outcasts themselves, Swinton recounted the close friendship between Bowie and her by saying he looked like someone from the same planet as she did, and he has always felt like a cousin to her.

#DAVIDGRAM @davidbowie

How do we mirror each other? #justthetwoofus #mirrormirroronthewall



SUFFRAGETTE CITY Bowie has always adapted a more androgynous exterior, subverting traditional gender binaries and expectations. Some suggested that in the song ‘Suffragette City’ he is talking to a male friend about preferring women over men, hinting that he does not entirely identify with bisexuality. Later in his career, he claimed that he was a ‘closet heterosexual’ and that he had always loved women. Of course, Bowie’s ambiguous sexuality is not the most interesting thing about him. As he said in an interview back in 2002, “I had no problem with people knowing I was bisexual. But I had no inclination to hold any banners nor be a representative of any group of people.” Bowie has never spoken on behalf of gay/women’s rights, but he is an LGBTQ icon in the way he brought queer culture to mainstream music; and by unlocking sexuality and the rules that came with it, he became a feminist icon. He is a cultural liberator who broke out of the prison that is masculinity.

Billy rapped all night ‘bout his suicide..How he’d kick it n the head when he was 25..Don’t wanna stay alive when you’re 25..Wendy’s stealing clothes from unlocked cars.. Freddy’s got spots from ripping off stars from his face.. 32 little boat race..The television man is crazy..Saying Funky we’re juvenile delinquent wrecks..Man I need a TV when ’ve got T. Rex..Hey brother you guessed I’m a dude..All the young dudes..Carry the news..Boogaloo dudes..Carry the new..All the young dudes..Carry the news..Boogaloo dudes..Carry the new..Now Jimmy looking sweet though he dresses like a queen..He can kick like a mule..It’s a real mean team..We can love..Oh we can love..And my brother’s back at home..With his Beatles and his Stones..We never got if off on that revolution stuff..What a drag..Too many snags..Well drunk a lot of wine..And I’m feeling fine..Gonna race some cat to bed..Is this concrete all around..Or is it in my head.. Oh brother you guessed I’m a dude..All the young dudes.. ‘All the Young Dudes’ is often Whilst not a true activist Carry the news..Boogaloo dudes..Carry the news..All the thought of as a gay anthem in the sense of the word, young dudes..Carryor the news..Boogaloo dudes..Carry the a glam rock equivalent to Bowie’s persona and cultural the night Beatles’ ‘All you need is hissignificance as being part of a he’d kick news Billy rapped all ‘bout suicide..How Love’. Bowie himself however wider cause is acknowledged. t in the head when he was 25..Don’t wanna stay alive when conveyed the song’s darker side you’re 25..Wendy’s with stealing clothes from unlocked cars.. an apocalyptic message Freddy’s got spots from ripping stars from his face..Funky about the world comingoff to ittle boat race..Theantelevision is crazy..Saying we’re end in five days, with man the ‘young dudes’ carrying the uvenile delinquent wrecks..Man I need a TV when I’ve got news guessed of impending worldI’m a dude..All the young T. Rex..Hey brother bad you destruction. dudes..Carry the news..Boogaloo dudes..Carry the new..All the young dudes..Carry the news..Boogaloo dudes..Carry the new..Now Jimmy looking sweet though he dresses like a queen..He can kick like a mule..It’s a real mean team..We can love..Oh we can love..And my brother’s back at home.. With his Beatles and his Stones..We never got if off on that revolution stuff..What a drag..Too many snags..Well I drunk a lot of wine..And I’m feeling fine..Gonna race some cat to bed..Is this concrete all around..Or is it in my head..Oh brother you guessed I’m a dude..All the young dudes..Carry the news..Boogaloo dudes..Carry the news..All the young


In 1972 Bowie told Melody Maker magazine he was ‘gay and always had been’, not something a musician did at that time with the decriminalization of homosexuality only taking place four years earlier. Bowie would continue to define his sexuality over the years and moving forward he continues to foster tolerance and acceptance through his creative output.

#DAVIDGRAM @davidbowie

Follow the news #bewhoyouwanttobe #livethelifeyouwant



MODERN LOVE This is a weird time to be alive. A smart-phone in one hand, a tablet in another. With all the easily-accessible information flying past us, true intimacy between people and emotional stimulation seem to have become harder to achieve. Modern day technology enables us to lead relatively isolated lives of being homebodies: from takeaway applications to dating platforms like Tinder and Grindr. Among young adults today, dating has become something much more casual with hookup culture on the rise. People are no longer intrigued by the mystery of a stranger. Bowie would be saddened by this. As a sensitive soul, he cherished the chemistry between people and finding a muse in someone else. At the same time, it might be a concept worth exploring that young adults today are comparatively detached from lust. What will happen to a generation that is not blinded by feelings, but facts and figures of the information age?

Mm ba ba de..Um bum ba de..Um bu bu bum da de..Pressure pushing down on me..Pressing down on you no man ask for.. Under pressure that brings a building down..Splits a family n two..Puts people on streets..Um ba ba be..Um ba ba be..De day 36 da..Ee day da - that’s okay..It’s the terror of knowing.. What the world is about..Watching some good friends.. Screaming ‘Let me out’..Pray tomorrow gets me higher.. Pressure on people people on streets..Day day de mm hm..Da da da ba ba..Okay..Chippin’ around - kick my brains around the floor..These are the days it never rains but it pours..Ee do ba be..Ee da ba ba ba..Um bo bo..Be lap..People on streets ee da de da de..People on streets - ee da de da de da de da..It’s the terror of knowing..What this world is about..Watching some good friends..Screaming ‘Let me out’..Pray tomorrow gets me higher higher highPressure on people people on streets..Turned away from it all like a blind man..Sat on a ence but it don’t work..Keep coming up with love but it’s Under Pressure is a song by the roots. In recent years, global so slashed and torn..Why whyand- why?..Love love love love band Queen, in writing politics have been destabilized, ove..Insanity laughs under pressure we’re breaking..Can’t recording collaboration with meanwhile capitalism has Davidmore Bowie. Released in 1981, taken a toll in the housing we give ourselves one chance..Why can’t we give love the song is included in several market and general economy that one more chance..Why can’t we give love give love give musicians’ of most first-world regions. ove give love..Give editions loveof both give love give love give love give compilation albums. Children today are growing up ove..’Cause love’s such an old fashioned word..And love in a vastly different climate, dares you to care for..The onwith the (People If Bowie was people born a few dozen tech-heavy childhoods.on streets) years later, his creativity might edge of the night..And loves (People on streets) dares you from more anti-system to change our way drive of..Caring about ourselves..This is our ast dance..This is our last dance..This is ourselves..Under pressure..Under pressure..Pressure Mm ba ba de..Um bum ba de..Um bu bu bum da de..Pressure pushing down on me..Pressing down on you no man ask for..Under pressure that brings a building down..Splits a family in two..Puts people on streets..Um ba ba be..Um ba ba be..De day da..Ee day da - that’s okay..It’s the terror of knowing..What the world is about..Watching some good friends..Screaming Let me out’..Pray tomorrow gets me higher..Pressure on people people on streets..Day day de mm hm..Da da da ba ba..Okay..Chippin’ around - kick my brains around the


Consumerism is the vine that pop culture feeds on. Reality shows get the most views, rather than the news or anything slightly informative. The trend of political correctness encourages inclusion, which somehow gives bigots a legitimate and credible voice to express their unwelcome opinions. In the year of 2018, Bowie might not have rejoiced as much as he did all those years ago in Europe. “It’s the terror of knowing / What the world is about / Watching some good friends / Screaming ‘Let me out’”.

#DAVIDGRAM @davidbowie

Be a leader not a follower #answeronlytoyourself #followyourlead



GOLDEN YEARS Golden Years was purportedly written by Bowie for Elvis Presley who turned it down, the king of ‘Rock n Roll passed away two years later. Chime Rinpoche arrived as a refugee in Britain in 1965 and was Bowie’s teacher and friend for over 50 years. Whilst teaching at a small Buddhist center in North London in 1966 he received a visitor (Bowie) who told him he wanted to be a monk. Chime asked him why and Bowie replied that he liked music, in response Rinpoche said that he should concentrate on becoming a musician which he did. In the 1990s Bowie talked about backpacking through a Buddhist retreat, taking stock of life and reflecting on his career to date. The recurring themes in his track ‘Lazarus’ from his final album Black Star are also reflective of Bowie’s life and lyrically nod towards universal as well as philosophical themes.


LET’S DANCE As well as pioneering new developments in sound sustainability Bowie pushes the boundaries of musical instrument innovation. He was a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, piano, and saxophone whilst singing and crooning often emulating one of his heroes Elvis Presley.

Whilst nodding to the past in terms of utilizing synths and other electronic instruments which added multi-layered sound to his tracks, Bowie also pioneers the electronic extension of traditional musical instruments through the use of electro-mechanical devices. Through adding active control for example to a wind resonator in order to change its behavior or the addition of electro-acoustic components to create a hybrid instrument, Bowie continues to collaborate with fellow musicians and produce on behalf of an extended circle of creative practitioners.

#DAVIDGRAM @davidbowie

Instrument for Life #musicinnovation #electroinnovation



LAZARUS ‘Lazarus’ a track from Bowie’s final album ‘Black Star’ is often referred to as prophetic of the late artist’s death. A song where Bowie talks as if from the afterlife exploring his life, fame and inability to communicate. ‘Look up here, man, I’m in danger I’ve got nothing left to lose I’m so high it makes my brain whirl Dropped my cell phone down below Ain’t that just like me?’ Some futurists predict that our ever immersive environments that reflect political, social and cultural seismic shifts can appear as genuine as in real life. Potentially we can exist in these virtual worlds by developing the technology to upload our thoughts onto hard drives allowing them to interact in virtual realities. Through advanced science it would become possible for Bowie to live on in multiple alternative realities.



Co-creation enabled us to elaborate thoughts from our core project team by inviting participants to a workshop at the V&A, and effectively crowd-source for future scenarios that place Bowie at the forefront of scientific and technological advances. These potential scenarios have been constructed to imagine Bowie’s creative circle through the use of a speculative Instagram account, his key influencers, and musical touchstones. Our project endeavors to highlight Bowie’s role in shaping the future, his unorthodox processes that put collaboration at the center of his approach, and the devices he employed to move his visions forward. Though derived from his musical work, the David Bowie brand means more than just some classic songs from the last century, and he was so much more than just a musician or a performer. His influence in the society, both cultural and political, is the essence of his everlasting brand which people after us shall continue to look up to. This publication as you see it has already been constructed by creatives in different fields, as a tribute to Bowie’s contribution to the world. It is a finished artifact, but in no way does this mean an end to our personal expeditions. In the process of research and production, Bowie’s legacy inspired each of us to ponder on his style, and most importantly, his attitude. Hence, a Bowie in each of us is born... We crossed the finished line for now, but this is not the end.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We must heartily thank the following lecturers, tutors, and technicians at London College of Communication for their guidance and assistance in the production process. We are also grateful to the following participants that came along to the content creation workshop at the Victoria and Albert Museum for their kind interest and creative contribution to the publication. Last but not least, we give thanks to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London for hosting the workshop.

Workshop Participants:

LCC Guidance:

Gregory Romain Murphy Faunsia Tucker Fredrica Florentini Shreya Ghosh Kate Quinlan Pimjootha Pongudomkit Rebecca Ricci Elena Marverti Jessica Cooke

Frania Hall Keith Martin Sara Ekenger Tony Yard Scott House Claire Grant Rahel Zoller

Disclaimer: All images within this publication are for educational and non-commercial use only. Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, with prior permission from the creators of Bowie In Us. Some rights reserved. This publication is NOT for sale.



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MA Design Management & Cultures and MA Publishing Collaborative Unit Project 2017/2018

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Bowie In Us  

Bowie In Us